Ukraine is ready to resolve the issue of unblocking Mariupol and evacuating civilians through diplomacy, but Russia has not yet shown readiness to take such a step. This was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a meeting with media representatives after talks with President of the European Council Charles Michel in Kyiv.
"The situation in Mariupol is deteriorating. Unfortunately, so far we cannot achieve a positive result there. Our warriors have hundreds of wounded. Protecting ordinary civilians with their backs, they lose their lives. Because, as far as I know, there are about a thousand civilians behind our guys in Mariupol, including children and women," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The Head of State stressed that Ukraine constantly offers the Russian side options for organizing humanitarian corridors. Some of them worked.
"Tens of thousands of civilians were evacuated from Mariupol thanks to this work. Unfortunately, several thousand people believed the Russian occupiers and went to the occupied parts of our state, as well as to the Russian Federation. And we do not know the fate of these thousands of peaceful people," he said.
According to the President, there are two ways to unblock Mariupol. The first is to provide substantial assistance to the Ukrainian military with heavy weapons. The defenders of the city, who are not going to surrender to the enemy, hope for this option. But so far Ukraine does not have enough equipment to work in this direction, the President said.
"The second way is diplomatic, and so far Russia does not agree to that. No matter what public signals they come out with, saying they are open, ready to exchange. Or, as they say, "the ball is on our court" (Ukraine’s court - ed.) - they do not know what they are playing. Or vice versa - they continue to play," said Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The President stated that Ukraine is ready for various formats of exchanging its people for the Russian military.
"And we are ready for the sake of our people - both military and civilian - for any format of exchange. And whether I like it or not, in the course of the remaining three years that the people have given me, I am ready to hold a dialogue with the President of Russia on the end of the war," said the Ukrainian President.